This was my second year in fifth grade after a 10 year run as a sixth grade teacher, and things went overall more smoothly. I’m writing to put some closure to this year, but also as a guide for what next year will bring:
* I will say, literacy went more smoothly. I co-taught with our special education teacher, and the planning we did together the previous year clicked very smoothly this year.
* This was my first year in CGI training, and while I don’t agree with some of the CGI ways of thinking, over all, I think my classroom time was well spent. I still have major concerns how this will look next year.
* “You matter” was a big part of our year, and I think for many of the students, they really got it. Many times they would “sneak” a sticky note to put on a friend’s book or they would email a teacher. I look forward to a full year of this mantra, and seeing if we can’t create a “You Matter” project.
* Daily 5/Common Reading time went very well! We’ve got a love of reading right now in our elementary that I’ve never seen before, and many parents have commented on that very fact: their child is reading!
* This was my first full year using Twitter, and it’s amazing the change in my own attitude I feel. Knowing I’ve got the best professional learner network at my fingertips is empowering! If I could just get another couple of people to join me! 🙂
* Our schedule was awful, and there’s not much I can do about that. But, I need to work more on keeping the students with me during those times in the afternoon where their minds’ wander.
* Bullying reared it’s ugly head, and while we worked hard as whole class to keep that negative feeling out, it still crept in from time to time.
* While Daily 5/Common Reading implimentation was successful, it didn’t translate into higher scores or as high of scores as we wanted. How we continue to push the reading and math without dealing with the poverty issue is a struggle here.
* My organizational skills are awful, just awful. I need a system, something to help with this or it’s going to cost me at some point when I can’t come up with something needed.
* Need a release of some sort. As things got ugly here with money issues in our district, my release was food, and it always has been. I need something more healthy to use when I get stressed out! 🙂
Summer work for next year
* Reread “The Book Whisperer”, “The Daily 5”, and finish reading “The CAFE”. If I am to be self-contained next year, I want to be fully planned out an ready.
* Math/literacy Common Core work! If I can get myself into the habit of working in the morning when my wife leaves for work, this will be easy. Othewise I need to cultivate those relationships both online and face to face because teaching math is going to be difficult.
* Continue to write and Tweet. While I doubt the tweeting will be an issue, this blog has been a good outlet and is starting to get noticed. I want to keep that momentum going because I feel that I’m just starting to find my true voice, and if I let it go for summer, it would be gone.
The two best parts of my job year in and year out here are the teachers I work with and the students who walk through my door. I work with the best staff, period. They work hard, they play hard, and are as professional as they day is long. Students, what can I say? Working in a k-12 building, I get to watch these kids grow up, and there’s no better honor then to see a former student get their diplomas.
In the end, it’s about the relationships I build each year with the students. I can look at myself and say for this year “good job” because I felt that almost to a student, those relationships were there. The teaching will come, but if the relationship isn’t there, it makes my job that much harder.
My “kids” all 31 of them are off for the summer, I will miss them dearly and want to wish tem all a wonderful break!